It was one-way traffic from the very start and it only got worse from there for the Wests Tigers, as they were demolished by a rampant Canberra Raiders side, losing 60-6 at GIO Stadium. The loss was the Wests Tigers worst ever at the hands of the Raiders, with Jason Taylor left dejected and disappointed by the effort.
Even at 12-6 after a quarter of the way through the first half, the Raiders had all the control but it was the second half that saw them kick away. Joey Leilua, Josh Hodgson and Jordan Rapana were the standouts, firing on all cylinders.
Hodgson, who has been a revelation since joining the NRL, has continued to surprise many and currently leads the Dally M leaderboard.
Even at 22-6 at the break, Tigers fans may have been hopeful that if they dug deep, there was a chance to salvage something. That was not be, however, as the Raiders went on a rampage and scored 38 straight points in the second half.
In what was a true all-round performance by the Raiders, the forwards laid the platform – and scored tries of their own to boot – before Hodgson and the halves executed to perfection, resulting in a landslide win for the Raiders.
There was a blow for the Raiders, though, who lost the in-form Joseph Tapine due to an ankle injury. Earlier, the Tigers lost Dene Halatau to a dislocated thumb.
Taylor put the loss down to the lack of mental toughness after a narrow golden point last week to the Storm.
“It wasn’t good enough from us tonight. It was a game that we were completely outplayed physically and it starts and ends there,” Taylor said.
“Mentally we couldn’t pick ourselves up after last week’s golden point game. It’s not good enough from us. Our fans deserve better.
“The opposition are a big, strong team. They were up for it on the back of some big losses and we couldn’t go with them.
“It’s a really poor showing from us. We’re better than that and we know we’re better than that and the only thing we can do now is respond.”
The club has little time to toil over the heavy defeat, though, with a five-day turnaround looming for their clash v the Bunnies.
“We play again in five days against Souths. They’re in the same boat as us. It’s bloody tough,” he said.
“We’ll have a team out there and we’ll be ready to represent the Wests Tigers’ jersey in the fashion it deserves to be represented because it wasn’t done in the fashion it should be tonight.”
After critcising his team last week for their effort, Ricky Stuart was pleased this week, especially with the brilliant performances from Leilua and Rapana, two players he praised last week also.
“They were two blokes I spoke about last week that really stood up for our team in a very poor performance. When they had the opportunity they just put a great show on,” Stuart said after the game.
“They asked who should be man of the match tonight and there were a number of guys who played well but those two boys deserved joint man of the match.”
Player of the Match:
3. Josh Hodgson
2. Jordan Rapana
1. Joey Leilua
Canberra Raiders 60 (Jordan Rapana 4, Joseph Leilua 2, Elliott Whitehead, Shannon Boyd, Jarrod Croker, Paul Vaughan, Aidan Sezer tries; Jarrod Croker 8 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 6 (Chris Lawrence try; Jordan Rankin 1 goal) at GIO Stadium. Half-time: 22-6 Raiders. Crowd: 13,420. Injuries: Joseph Tapine (ankle) and Dene Halatau (thumb).